Why Does YouTube Force You to Watch Ads?

One of the most frequent sources of frustration for some people is clicking on a video and seeing a twenty second advertisement pop up with no skip button in sight. The reality is that the fast-paced nature of internet browsing means unexpected delays can be seen as a major inconvenience. But on a platform that traditionally had no ads or skippable ads, many users are left wondering about YouTube’s decision to require people to fully view some ads.

When Did YouTube start making me watch ads?

Like most major changes, this actually began with a trial run with select video channels. However, it rolled out as an option to all creators in 2018. This is likely when most viewers first began noticing the non-skippable ads.

So Why Did YouTube Decide to Force Me to Watch Ads?

Ultimately, the answer is money. Aside from allowing people to express themselves through content creation, YouTube exists to generate revenue. This is done through ads. Companies typically pay YouTube through AdSense and creators get paid by the number of ad views once revenue hits a minimum threshold. However, the decision to allow non-skippable ads stems from the fact that advertisers will pay YouTube more if viewers watch their whole ad.

What does this mean for Creators?

For creators, this means they will be able to select whether or not to allow ads that cannot be skipped on their channels. Creators are able to make this decision for all their videos using a bulk option or set the parameters for each video specifically. Creators can utilize things such as their Analytics dashboard to try to determine which videos may be best for non-skippable ads and which would be better suited for the traditional skippable ones.

This also means that YouTube creators who choose to allow non-skippable ads will likely be able to earn more money for their videos as the ads shown will be more lucrative. This video serves as an overview of the advertising process for creators.

What does this mean for viewers?

For viewers, this means you are now seeing more non-skippable ads, which is likely why you searched for the answer to this question in the first place. However, there is an option to completely get rid of ads. YouTube Premium, a monthly subscription service, allows you to watch videos ad-free, run the YouTube app in the background of your phone, and provides other convenient features.


About two years ago, YouTube rolled out non-skippable ads to all creators after an initial test run. Since then, creators are able to decide which videos use non-skippable versus traditional ads. For YouTube and creators, the reward is greater revenue. Guaranteeing that a viewer watches an entire ad allows for advertising to be charged at higher amounts. For viewers, this may create a bit of occasional inconvenience or frustration. However, for viewers who wish to avoid ads, they have the option of subscribing to YouTube Premium.

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  • Mike has over a decade of experience in higher education as a researcher, administrator, and faculty member. He currently teaches leadership and communication. He possesses a doctorate from the University of Arkansas in organizational leadership, masters from Grand Valley State in education, and bachelors from Southeastern Louisiana University in behavioral sciences. His writing interests include politics, travel, and social issues.

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